Magnificently Seven Months

Dear Alice,

I think every month I tell you how much I love the age you are, and your seventh month is no different. Look how happy you are!


Let’s look at your stats:

You are sitting up like a boss!  Just before Trisha took your picture this past month, you decided to figure out sitting. You are about a month behind your brothers, but that is Ok. My favorite thing is how little you care when you tip over. Your brothers cried or whined when they went booty over apple cart; you just smile even bigger. Like it was fun to tip sideways, backwards, or forward. You wiggle until you are on your tummy and just play that way.

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You are eating food!  Well, baby food. Ok, you like pears. You make faces with apples and bananas, as well as with puffs and those mum mum things. However, you find puffs and how they stick to your hands amusing. I think you are ready to try some veggies, but I am sure you will make faces at those too.

We have quit keeping track of when your bottle feedings are, and packed up the perpetual “feeding schedule” that we kept on the island listing when your last bottle was and how much you ate. Now we just know: you have three 6-oz bottles at Renae’s house during the day and two at home before bed.

I took a glimpse back through the notepad before tucking it away in your memory box. That pad of paper had all your feedings since the day you came home from the hospital. The first few pages also had a little column along the side where daddy kept track of which pain meds I took and what time.

that time seems so long ago now. Much longer than mere months–seems like a totally different life. And it sort of was.

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Ever since those first days, you have been a great sleeper. That trend has continued for sure. Renae says that you sometimes doze a bit in the morning, but usually take a nice big 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. You’re usually passed out by 10:30 at night for us and sleep until we wake you at 6:30am.  It doesn’t matter where we put you in your crib, you always wiggle your way to the one corner–daddy even found you asleep with your head propped up against the slats in that corner one weekend morning! You will fall asleep however, but you always roll to your tummy–just like your brothers always did.

Occasionally you will wake in the night in need of your pacifier and a butt pat, or sometimes a little teething gel. You have three bottom teeth now and they are ADORABLE when you grin.

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While you’re not crawling yet, you are definitely a little mover! While on your tummy you can push yourself waaaay up so you can look around. You can also scoot yourself in a circle and back and forth by launching off your knees that you can scrunch up under you. Daddy is concerned that soon we will have to put the baby gate back up by the steps. We waited too long with Charlie and he rolled right down them. Oops!

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Alice, you are the happiest little baby. You love people so much. I still have you sit with us in church rather than put you in the nursery because you are just so good. You sit by either daddy or me and play with a toy or your feet. Sometimes you look at the people behind us and smile, then hide in my shoulder. You make everyone around you smile because you are such a little sunshine.

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When you are displeased with something, you don’t just cry, you make a little huffy whining noise. Sometimes we can change it into a giggle if we pay you attention right away, but if we ignore it, it turns into shouts of anger. It’s sort of a diva move, but since you only do it when you’re tired, hungry, or poopy, I’ll let it go. I mean, I get crabby when I am tired and hungry, and I am sure if I had to sit in my own poop I wouldn’t love it too much.


Your current favorite things are a mini sofie giraffe teether, make LOUD noises like ZAH ZAH ZAH and DA DA DA, giggling at your brothers, shaking your head “no”, and eating your feet.


Daddy has been working so hard to get you to crawl. I don’t know why. For one, non-mobile babies are SO MUCH EASIER. And two, once you start, it’s not like we can go back. That will be it. No more stationary baby. We will be done with that phase.

That’s the weird part of parenting. I can see why daddy is excited; you can get on all fours, you just can’t lift your head from that position. So you are on the verge of learning something new. That has always been such an exhilarating part of parenting–having the privilege of being front row for your child’s learning.

On the other hand, I just want to keep you little. I don’t want to rush you to the next thing because once you’re there, that is it. We are done. No more babies will follow with first rolling and first head lifts and  first crawling. You are the caboose of the Sluiter Nation Train.


In many ways, Alice, you are my easiest baby. You are content 98% of the time whether chilling with your brothers, alone on your play mat, or hanging out on someone’s lap. You weren’t colicky like Eddie, and you don’t have “stranger danger” like Charlie did.

But there is something more difficult about you too. It’s more subtle and hard to name; I think it has to do with fear. My own fear that you the smiles and cuddles that are just for me will fade. That you won’t possibly love me this much ever again. That you, too, will join the chorus of “YOU’RE MEAN” and “I DON’T LIKE YOU” that your brothers have begun when they don’t get their way.


Right now, you like me always, and I just want to keep it that way for as long as I can. It’s like a calm, happy in the middle of a storm of crazy some days.

You are my joy, my dear Alice.

I love you,


ps. All outdoor, professional photos were taking by Trisha of TMV Photography. We love her to the moon, Alice. She has a heart of gold and is one of the best friends I could ask for. Find friends like her, and you will always have joy in your life.

Can I Tell Her She is Pretty?

Hey Pretty Girl! I see you! Good morning, Beautiful!

Each morning since school started, I try to be the one that wakes Alice up. She sleeps in her footie jammies in a sleep sack, and since being able to roll, she prefers her tummy. I usually find her with her head in the same corner of the crib, not quite up against the slats, but close. She is a cuddle bug and I know she likes to feel cozy, but she is too little yet for me to let her have her bunny or a blankie in bed.

When I flick the light switch on, she rubs her eyes and buries her face in her hands and the flat sheet. Then she brings her head up, turns toward my voice, and with her eyes still squinted shut, smiles a big three-bottom-tooth grin.


Hey Alice! Hey there Pretty Girl!

Cortney picks Alice and Charlie up from daycare each day. They get home after Eddie and me around 5pm. When he sets Alice’s carrier on the counter, I am almost always the one to greet her and get her out. The moment she catches sight of me, I get a big, nose-scrunchy smile.


She is beautiful. Gorgeous, even.

When I look at her I see the prettiest baby in the world. When she coos and “talks” I tell her she has so much to say. I tell her what she says is important and that I love to hear it. I tell her she is so smart. I tell her she’s such a Big Girl when she accomplishes something like grasping a toy she has been working for or trying a new flavor of baby food.

I also tell her she is pretty. Constantly.


When I had only boys, I never thought twice about telling them how smart and handsome and wonderful they were. Yes, I read some things here and there that said you aren’t supposed to say “good job!” to your kids (of course I can’t find the dang thing now. I see it all over Pinterest forever and when I go to find it? Nope. Sorry.), but as someone who works with kids, I know what encouragement–or actually the lack of it–does to kids. So I vowed to always affirm my children’s positive behavior, accomplishments, and words.

For six years I have been raising men. I have focused in on how to be a mom of boys who will be good men someday. I have been conscious of not just encouraging them, but of being a role model of a strong, confident woman. I try to model constructive communication over yelling (key word: try). Cortney models how women should be treated.

I’m not going to say it’s easier to be the mom of boys, but I will say that I feel like encouraging them and guiding them to have a positive self-image is less of an anxiety trigger for me.

I don’t know a mom out there who doesn’t think her own children are the most beautiful in the world, but when it comes to girls, I also know that somewhere society becomes louder than our moms’ voices.


I don’t know when I started thinking I was awkward or less pretty than the other girls at school, but it was early. It was for sure by fourth grade. Maybe earlier.

I felt lanky and awkward. My hair was too frizzy. My bangs were weird. Then middle school rolled around and I had acne. I was flat-chested. I had zero curves. I weighed barely 100 pounds in high school and I felt like my thighs were too big.

In college I didn’t have the right “black booty pants” (fellow 90’s girls, I know you know what I mean). I was more Metallica than Back Street Boys, more Wu Tang than Will Smith. I wore a size 6 and was afraid of how many calories were in the beer I drank–although I would never say anything in front of all my guy friends.

As an adult I long for those size 6 pants and the short plaid skirts with Docs. Now I struggle with grey hair in my 30’s and pine for my long brown wonderful hair of my 20’s.

I can’t remember ever feeling pretty. Well, that’s not true. I can remember feeling pretty here and there, but not as a general rule. Not as an every day thing.


Before having a daughter, I agreed with people who said not to focus on looks. Talk about her brain. About how smart she is and how important her words are. Let her know she can be whatever she wants. Let her know it’s not about looks anyway.

But you know what?

For a lot of us, even though maybe it shouldn’t matter, it does. We want to feel pretty.

We want to feel good about ourselves and all of our nooks and crannies…just the way we are.


I still agree that we need to tell our girls how important their words and thoughts are; society still makes everything harder for women.  But I also think it’s ok–imperative even–that we tell our daughters they are beautiful.

Every day I have middle school girls who walk into my classroom feeling less than beautiful. I see the affects our culture already has on them at just thirteen years old. Some are already beaten down because they do not fit what our society defines as beauty…and no one has told them any different.

I equally don’t want Alice to feel like she has to fit some sort of mold as far as her looks, as well as I don’t want her to feel like she is anything less than gorgeous.


So maybe I’m not “supposed” to tell her she is pretty because heaven for bid, she may believe it. She may walk into a room not worrying what people think of her hair or skin or size. She may be able to focus on her thoughts and words because she is not worrying about whether or not she is pretty enough.

I am willing to take that risk.


Photos by TMV Photogrphy

My To Watch List on Netflix

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So yeah. School started and now that is my life.

My school, Eddie’s school, Eddie’s activities like soccer and cub scouts, Sunday school–which I teach and Eddie and Charlie attend. Bowling started for Cortney. We are suddenly crazy busy here all of the time, which means our TV watching has slowed down significantly.

The boys watch one episode of Octonauts in the morning before leaving for daycare/school and then, depending on our level of busy, they get to watch one or two shows before bed. That’s it. Cortney and I seem to watch even less. In fact, lately, I have been totally falling asleep in Eddie’s bed after I read the boys their bedtime story. It’s ridiculous.

I have a running list of some shows I want to watch/catch up on though. These are my top three:


Yes, I know. This is ALWAYS on my list. But I really want to finish up Season 3 because I don’t want to be a whole season behind when season 4 comes out. This show is like a good book to me; it takes me right out of my reality and gets me super invested in all the characters and their stories. But I can’t watch it when the kids are up, so my watch time is severely limited. I need one good day home alone to binge!


Cortney and I just discovered The League on FX and it is hilarious. It’s totally inappropriate, but so SO funny. Plus both of us like it, so this is a good one to watch after the kids go to bed when nothing else is on TV (like a baseball game).  We need to start from season 1 because we busted in during the current season and now I have the need to watch all of them.


So I am putting Gotham on here because I have seen the previews for it and it looks good. I have always loved the Batman movies (the ones from the 90’s and the more recent ones with Christian Bale). In fact, I am quite interested in superhero stuff, but I have never taken the time to read comics or watch all the movies.  Actually, I like the ones that have complicated and interesting back stories. I’m not as interested in all the action stuff as I am in the story. I think that is why this appeals to me. Season 1 is available now on Netflix, so I think I should start watching it, yes?

What is on your Top 3 TO WATCH list? When do you find time to watch your favorite shows?


We Survived…Barely

Whew! The first week of school for the 2015-16 school year is in the books and the Sluiters are EXHAUSTED!

Eddie’s first week as a 1st grader went really well. He never fully admitted to being nervous, but he did tell me the night before school started, “Mom, if you are nervous or scared, just do what I do and push the scared down and do it anyway.”

He’s a wise one, that Eddie.

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When I picked him up the second day, he said very seriously to me, “Mom. I got to know Mrs. D a little better today, and now I have figured out I don’t like first grade.” I must have had a terrified look on my face, trying to muster up the lecture about giving it some time, when he started laughing and said, “I LOVE IT! GOT YOU, MOM!” Oh boy.

Eddie also had his first soccer game this weekend. His team lost 0-3, but he thinks they scored a goal for some reason. He told me he had a “great” time, so that is more positive than last year. I had a meeting for our Children in Worship team at church, so I didn’t get to see him play. Cortney says he ran the whole time and didn’t lay down, so we are already doing better than last year!

He has also shown an interest in joining cub scouts, so we will be looking into doing that too. While I get a twinge of sadness that my kids grow up so fast, I can’t help but be excited for them to learn and grow and try new things and experience that excited right along with them.

Charlie and Alice went back to full time daycare this week. It was a change for Charlie this year because one of his little friends is now in preschool and doesn’t go to his daycare anymore. After two days without her, he told me he missed her. He still has one friend his age who is there most of the time (though I think he also goes to preschool part time). Charlie adapted quite easily to the new schedule, although by the end of the week we had a very tired 3.5 year old on our hands.

Alice started out rough, but after the first day, she got better and better. It’s so hard to come home to a baby whose eyes are all red from crying, and then have to send her off again the next day, but she was a trooper! By the end of the week she was even taking good naps at daycare.

Cortney’s bowling league started up this past week too. I guess that makes sense since it was the first week after Labor Day, but goodness! We had hardly gotten into our new routine and he was gone for an evening. A Thursday evening. There were many meltdowns while he was gone (me included), but we made it.

My first week back was exhausting, but the good kind of exhausting. The kind where your body aches and your eyes droop and it’s because you used your mind and body to work hard.

back to school

I spent a good part of this first week of school getting kids accustomed to what Reader’s Workshop, to how to find what they are looking for in the school library and in my classroom library, and how to keep a Reader’s Notebook. I did a LOT of talking and thinking about reading. I stood a lot. I walked a lot. I talked a lot.

It was a good, good week.

(ps. I was able to add about 50 new books so far this school year thanks to donations! Kids have already started giving me suggestions for what they would like to see added. They are hungry for books! If you have a spare $10, and you want to help put books in the hands of 8th graders, check out our Wish List!)

My To Do List is still a mile long and I feel like I am only just scratching the surface. BUT, I love this feeling of purpose. This feeling of having a specific set of things to do each day. This routine we will eventually fall into as a family.

It’s always tough when we first have this big change–kids get over-tired by the end of the week, Cortney and I flail to get all the things done (laundry, groceries, cleaning, homework, etc) done over the weekend to make the upcoming week run smoothly–but we will get there.

It’s good. We are off to a good start.

Now excuse me while I collapse into bed.

After I make our lunches for Monday.

First Day of First Grade

Dear Eddie,

Today is your first day of First Grade! Last week we went to open house and you met Mrs. D and saw your classroom. Your face when you realized that you had a DESK that OPENED instead of just a table with a bag on the back of your chair was priceless!

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This year is already so different than last year.

Last year we had already had many, many nights of tears and concerns as you talked out your fears and anxieties of starting Kindergarten. At orientation last year, you looked at me with trepidation in your eyes as we left you in your class so we could go to the gym for the parent portion of the night. You needed a quick hug before we walked just down the hall.

This year we walked into the school as a family and you showed us right where the sunshine room was, giving your last year’s K teacher a fist bump on your way. I love your confidence! I love the way you walk into some place like you own it.

Once in your classroom, I could tell you were a bit more cautious since it was new, but we found your desk, did the activities your teacher had listed, and you turned them in. Later you told me you were a little scared to talk to your new teacher, but you told me, “I pushed down the scared and did it anyway!”

You are so brave.

You are going to rock first grade, and I am so excited for you!

First grade was wonderful for me. I remember learning to read {which you learned last year!} and doing math {which you also learned last year}. My most vivid memory from first grade was being in the “Hamburger” reading group–which was the most advanced. Some of those kids became my friends all the way through high school since we stayed in advanced classes together until graduation.

I had my first sleepover in first grade. I also collected stickers in my sticker book and traded popbeads with friends. I played kick ball at recess and came home super grubby every day. Ask Grandma–she will tell you about how I didn’t have any pants without holes in the knees that she had to patch. That was also the year I fell off the top of the SUPER tall slide and landed on my back, knocking the wind right out of me.

You gave yourself a fat lip just yesterday by helping me in my classroom! Well, you weren’t helping at the time. You were using my student desks as a jungle gym and you fell on your face, biting your lip. We mopped up the blood and I gave you a sucker and you were better again.

That is just you right now–sort of klutzy. You don’t really look where you are going most of the time and you trip over your own feet. I blame the fact that you grew two inches in less than six months. You’re all floppy and long all of a sudden. You’re such a…big kid.

I’ve always thought of first graders as being little and tiny, but you seem neither little nor tiny to me. As you say you’re a “big kid going into the number grades!”

So hooray for the first grade and all the new friends and experiences you will have!

I can’t wait to pick you up this afternoon and hear all about it!

I love you!


Half Birthday

Dear Alice,

Somehow, you are six months old already. I know. It’s surprising!

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I just read over Eddie and Charlie’s 6 month posts, and I can’t believe how different this time around is. Both boys were sitting by 6 months. You are not. You haven’t figure out yet that you need to put a little lead in your butt or you’ll tip over. If I sit with my legs out, you will sit in between them, but if I let go, you will fall forward. Plus you move your legs too much to stay sitting. It’s like you’d rather be on a bicycle.

Both boys were also already eating cereal, applesauce, bananas, carrots and peas by this point. You’ve had four bites of applesauce, turned your nose up, scrunched up your face, gagged, and then barfed. Tonight I gave you some cereal which induced less gagging, but you still didn’t seem too pleased with me.

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You definitely use rolling and scooting to get you were you want to be and to get you the things you want to reach. Just like your brothers, you have learned you can now roll to your tummy at night and you prefer to sleep that way. Daddy and I joke that you “always go left,” because even when you are falling asleep on us, you try to roll left…even if there is no where to go that way!

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While you will still lay in the swing, we don’t need it anymore to help you fall asleep, so next week we will be passing it on to Uncle Mike and Aunt Ashley for baby Maddox (who is supposed to be here around Thanksgiving). It will be weird giving up a piece of baby equipment that we have had since before Eddie was born. We started giving all the boy clothes that Charlie no longer fits into to Harry and all the girl clothes you grow out of to Aunt MacKenzie for their baby girl due in November. And now we will start to shed the infant stuff too.

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A month ago I could tell that one tooth was on its way; now you have two! Both bottom teeth are cut through and darn it if it’s not adorable when you smile! Those teeth are an endless source of interest to you. I watch you run your tongue over them and make silly “goy goy goy” noises. You also love to suck on your fingers and thumb, which has made meal time more difficult. Yup, you like to try to suck on your thumb while eating a bottle. It’s frustrating to both of us.

You can also sort of hold your own bottle, but it’s more of a tug-of-war than a cooperative thing usually resulting in your getting angry because you have knocked the bottle out of my hands, and thus your mouth.

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Your favorite toy is your feet. When they come out of your jammies in the morning you grab them and put them straight in your mouth. And give us the BIGGEST smile. You also love your bunny and your blankies. You have a few small “lovie” sized blankies that you like to put right up to your face/nose in order to fall asleep. We never sent a blankie or lovie to daycare for the boys, but we sent a little blankie for you.  Maybe Renae is right; maybe you are a little spoiled.

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Daddy reminded me that you are now closer to turning one than you are to birth. I punched him, of course. But I know I can’t keep you little (even if I totally sort of want to. maybe). And I am mostly ok with that. I mean, it’s so exciting watching you grow and learn and change!  Your little personality is starting to emerge and it is so so sweet.


Tomorrow I go back to work, and I am going to miss seeing your face all day long. I’m going to miss our impromptu naps on the couch or in the chair after one of your bottles. I’m going to miss lying on the floor by you and tickling you which you suck on your big toe.

But our evening cuddles will be so much sweeter. At least that is my hope.

I love you, Miss Alice Beans.

Forever and always,
Your Momma


Summer Out, Fall In

Oh Summer of 2015, what a mixed bag of emotions you have been.

My time “off” started March 5–the day before Alice was born. Summer break officially started June 5 after I picked Eddie up from his last day or Kindergarten and Charlie up from daycare.

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We made a Bucket List of things we wanted to do this past summer. We made a daily schedule for when screen time was and when nap was and when meals were. We made a weekly “adventure” schedule with planned days for the park, the library, the farmer’s market, and more. We started a behavior chart to help two boys who were used to structure and lots of kids around cope with a little less structure and only each other. We had systems in place. This summer was going to be full of fun and adventures!

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And we had fun. We did.

But it wasn’t what I expected.

For one, our daily schedule did not go by what we posted, but by what Alice decided she needed. Her feeding and sleeping drove our days which meant that our weekly schedule also went out the window. If we didn’t leave the house to do fun stuff in the morning? We didn’t go because we needed to have lunch or the kids would turn into monsters (seriously. I learned that if you don’t feed one of my children by a certain time, you will enter into the “point of no return”. Food will help curb the beast, yes, but you have killed the day). And Charlie naps in the afternoon.

Many days because of Alice’s eating/sleeping schedule, we did not leave the house. Or if we did, I fed her while we were out and the boys did awful things out in public.

So I tried to keep the awful out of the public’s eye.

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That is not to say we stayed home ALL the time. We did make it to the Farmer’s Market quite regularly in the beginning of the summer. The problem is, it’s open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Saturdays are a large NO because I hate the massive crowds. So Wednesdays were perfect. But if it was rainy or we didn’t have spare cash, we didn’t go. By mid-July we stopped all together.

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We did the library and the bakery a few times, but it wasn’t regular. In fact, this is the first summer I had to go return the books on my own once so we wouldn’t get late fees. In years past, we could easily go once a week. Nothing was “easily scheduled” this summer.

But we did double the number of books we would normally read because Eddie turned six this summer, and could get his own library card! So instead of ten books each visit, we could do twenty books! I bet we read well over a hundred books this summer, and that is pretty awesome!

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Speaking of books, we also did a neighborhood Kids Book Club this summer. We read three books along with the other kids in the neighborhood and met every other week to talk about it, do a craft, and have a snack! Because of weather, schedules, and other stuff, we ended up not meeting in August, but the boys and I read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. And Eddie ordered a couple books by Geronimo Stilton so we have been reading Paws Off, Cheddarface (which I just realized is number 6 in the series. Maybe we should have started with number 1. Huh).

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Something we did almost weekly was the park. Originally, the boys and I wanted to go to every park in our town. We called it “Pick a Park Friday!” Only Charlie thought we were saying “Pickle Park” and when our first choice was a favorite that was close to our house, he thought that park was THE “Pickle Park.” Also we tried to go to a different park once and the boys whined, so we went to the same park every week after that. The Pickle Park. Heh.

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Alice loved the park too, so that was a bonus. Other than the one time we ventured to a different park, every park visit was great. The boys always played so nice and Alice and I sat in the shade while I sipped my coffee.

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I tried my best to get the kids outside every day, but if I am going to be honest here (and I always am), it did not always work. It usually went something like this:

Me: Turn off the screens. You boys need to go play outside for awhile.
Me: GO!
Boys: Grumble grumble QUIT PUSHING ME! GIVE ME MY SHOES! ::door slam::
(2 minutes later)
Me: Go.
(2 minutes later)
Charlie: (scream crying, so it’s sort of indecipherable, but this is what I think he probably said): MOM MOM EDDIE SAID THERE IS A BUFFALO IN THE WOODS AND IT’S GOING TO EAT ME AND THEN HE PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE!
Me: There are no buffalo in our woods. Tell Eddie to be nice. Go.
(2 minutes later)
Me: Go.

And so it goes.

There were days–ok–almost all of the days–when I just said, you know what? Fine. Watch hour 3 of Netflix. Whatever. Leave me alone.

So they did. Usually without pants.

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Sometimes I bribed them outside by going out with them. That usually just meant they sat next to me to do their whining rather than fighting to the death and tattling via opening and shutting the door so often that flies thought our house WAS the outdoors.

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To be fair, we did some fun stuff too. We had a few beach days, went to the zoo, played with friends, and hit up the splash pad.  Adventures were had.

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We ran the sprinklers, flew down the slip n slide, and hauled out the inflatable pool. We kicked soccer balls and played catch. The boys went fishing with Grandpa. We sweated in the heat and ate camp fire food.

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We had fun.

And it was hard.

All at the same time.

Today I go back to work for three days before the holiday break. Then it’s all official. Summer will be done.

We are ready.

I have a bunch of other feelings about my time home with Alice being done, but that is separate from the summer being done. I am ready for the summer “schedule” to be done. I am ready for us to start our fall schedule.  And I know the boys are too.

Because they are almost as sick of sitting in time out as I am of sending them there.

The Splash Pad

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My best friend sat next to me Friday afternoon as our kids played in the local splash pad. Months had passed since we last saw each other and the only communication we have had was some texts back and forth and sending each other ridiculous pins on Pinterest.

We don’t talk weekly on the phone, or even via text. We aren’t constantly emailing each other or PM-ing each other on Facebook. If someone asks me what she is up to, I don’t usually know.

If you were listening in on our conversation Friday, you would know right away that we were best friends, and had been for a long time. You would never guess that we lived in different states and rarely talked. Our conversation was just as easy Friday as it had been when we were in high school lying on towels on the beach.

We talked about nothing, but that was everything.

There was a group of moms who were all blonde, thin, and attractive near by. They were clearly a group who got together often with their kids–whom they were not watching. This was evidenced by the very small toddler who kept walking over to us and trying to join our little area. His mom never once looked over. I kept worrying that he would fall and choke on his cracker he was carrying around, but he never did.

We talked about that group. We had both seen groups like it before, but had never joined one. Neither of us felt like we fit into a group like that. Both of us work full-time as teachers, both of us are “advanced maternal age” (shut up).

Then our conversation shifts to summer bucket lists and getting our classrooms ready for school. We even give the palazzo pants a quick shout out–I wondered what shoes you were with them and she said, “um. flip flops. duh.” She’s right. She is always right about footwear.

Sometimes I am jealous of other people’s best friend relationships. Other people live close to their BFF. Other people run everything in their life past their bestie. I see people taking pictures and having girl nights and slumber parties and all these close, fun things.

That’s not how I roll.

I don’t call her every time I’m depressed or anxious. She hasn’t said much to me about her dad’s health problems.

She was the first person I texted each time I found out I was pregnant–all five times–though. Some people didn’t even find out our second pregnancy until we were pregnant with Eddie and relatively sure he was going to “stick”.

She was my matron of honor in our wedding. During her toast at the reception she got one joke out and then started crying so hard, she couldn’t finish. We didn’t have to talk about it.

We both felt like friend fails when we couldn’t drive the almost three hours to be with the other when she had her first baby (or in my case my second and third as well).

I think about her often though. As I started reading The Attachments by Rainbow Rowell last night, I giggled at the email exchanges that would probably mirror ours if we actually emailed each other. When I shop, I hear her voice in my head saying “try that on even if you don’t think you’ll like it. PUT DOWN THE BLACK. No, navy does not count as ‘a pop of color’. Don’t even look at those jelly shoes. YOU LOOKED! I’M DONE WITH YOU!” And I can’t watch Home Alone without texting her that “last year I got a sweater with a big bird knitted on it.”

And I’m pretty sure I am not even capable of watching Reality Bites without her.

I wish our afternoon at the splash pad was a routine happening and not something out of the ordinary. I’d wish for her and her husband and son to move back to our little spot in Michigan, but I know they wouldn’t be happy. They love their Big City life and they are perfect for it.

So instead I will wish for ways to see her/them more often. And if that means I have to stay in a nice hotel and get pedicures in the city, so be it.

Netflix and Dinosaurs and Trucks


Ah, the smell of fall is in the air today. I am seeing lots of back to school pictures filling up my Facebook feed. Eddie’s teacher letter came in the mail today making him ALL excited that he needs a pencil box for first grade. Yes, it’s almost time for school to start.

Many parents feel a mixed bag of emotions this time of year, and I’m not different. Although I will say that having been off work since March 5, and having the boys home since June 6, I am ready for us all to get back on our school schedule. I am excited to start another year with 8th graders, we all look forward to Eddie becoming a 1st grader, and Charlie is pretty jazzed about Alice coming to daycare with him.

We have two weeks left.

In those two weeks I was hoping to jam in some last minute summer fun!  Then it rained. A bunch. And now it’s all of a sudden 65 degrees–not exactly beach weather, if you know what I mean. It’s even windy enough that the state parks are flying red flags at Lake Michigan.

But fear not! The boys have found themselves a new Netflix original series to keep them occupied when the weather is too chilly and wet for slip n slides and bike rides: DinoTrux!


This show is about these creatures that are part dinosaur and part machine. There are also tiny ones that are party lizard and part machine.  They are sort of like the little tools and the big dinosaurs do the big construction work. For a kid like Charlie who loves all things construction and big “monsters” like dinosaurs, this is the most perfect show. There are “good guys” who are all friends and a “bad guy” who tries to break up the friends. Of course the friends always win by working together. Well, at least for the three episodes we’ve watched they have.

It’s a cute little show to fill the time between play doh and lunch time. From today until two weeks when we go back to school.


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. Netflix provides their service and a device for us to watch it on. All opinions and show choices are our (my) own.

Where My Writing Is…

In case you missed it, I have a few articles floating around the internet…

This month at the Educator’s Room, I’ve posted about what all teachers should be reading this summer, and it’s not just “teacher books”!

I also put on my serious, political pants and talked about the very real feeling that there is a conspiracy against public education among politicians.

With school starting, I wrote about the important task of creating safe spaces for kids in our classrooms.

Just this week, I posted an introduction to a series that I will be working on this month about Close and Critical Reading and strategies I/we use in my district that have really helped students improve their literacy.

Also a post I wrote originally for The Educator’s Room was re-run on The Washington Post! I know! So exciting! It’s the one about Job Insecurity in education.

My writing is also on BonBon Break again this month with a post I did about my feelings concerning School Dress Codes from a teacher’s point of view.

And lastly, I was interviewed by UpWorthy about what the deal is with Back to School Supply lists. (In Michigan we can’t require students to buy supplies; we have to supply them. Which is why I have a Wish List on Amazon, in case you are interested in helping out)

There you go!

School starts for me on September 1, and for the kids (Eddie included) on September 8. I’ve been busy busy BUSY with To Do Lists and creating stuff and I’ve even been into my classroom already setting things up for a new year.

There is a lot of excitement about it over here, I won’t lie!  Eddie is going into first grade, Charlie is starting his last year of “full-time” daycare (next year he will go to preschool part of the time), Alice is starting full-time daycare, and I will be teaching a new year of eager 8th graders.

But I’ll keep writing too! So stay tuned!

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